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Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Nov 2, 2011 6:59am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Why the Bad and the Ugly only helped the Good

I know many folks spend a great deal of time not only praising the great stuff, but also calling out the bad (yes, boys and girls, our boys were not "on" every single night...or year if you ask a few of us). But what's the alternative? So many bands spend months rehearsing before a tour, working out each and every note in advance so that one night is pretty much a carbon copy of the night before, the band knowing that the audience comes expecting to hear the songs just like they heard them on the radio. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but if you see one show, there is no real need to see another on that tour. We are so lucky that the Dead were able to avoid this note-for-note duplication. One night could be entirely different from the next, even if the songs were occasionally the same. Growing with them as I did in the early 80's and forward, I saw my share of rather weak nights, but I also got to witness some extraoridinary nights as well. With any other band, if I had gone to a less then stellar show, I would most likely never bother to see another, especially on the same tour, knowing it would most likey be just more of the same. With these guys, however, the possibility of catching one of "those shows", even when Jerry looked like the Sta Puft Marshmallow Man dipped in Wesson Oil and even if the show the night before had been flat, kept me coming back (well, as long as the funding or kindness of strangers permitted). I've realized that even the worst shows played an important role in my love affair with this band. They served to make me only appreciate and truly savor the great ones that much more, giving me that impetus to do whatever I could to see the next night. Perhaps this was a master-strategy by Jerry, especially as the years took their toll, knowing that by keeping the audience guessing and always hoping only served to keep them coming back time and time again. I would much rather have it this way then have each show crisp, clean and choreographed. If I want that, I'll catch the next Rush tour (but that one show will be pretty damned good, guaranteed). I was perfectly happy to suffer through a few duds as long as I got one home run thrown in from time to time.

That, of course, is purely my experience, yours (and a few names come to mind fairly quickly) is probably different. Just thinking out loud here.

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Poster: WillCo Date: Nov 2, 2011 12:36pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Why the Bad and the Ugly only helped the Good

Case in point: I once went to the first night that Bryan Ferry did at Newcastle City Hall on a two-night run (he'd just released a solo album, c.1978). It was amazing, and I told everybody how brilliant he had been. A friend who had a ticket for the second night was ill and gave me hers. You guessed: it was a total clone of the night before - not just the music but every single word he spoke to the crowd. Talk about breaking the spell; it was such a shock that someone who'd been so, so cool the night before was in reality so uncomfortable working a crowd.

Bryan had been a bit of a hero to my circle of friends as he'd studied (some years earlier) at Newcastle's Fine Art department where we then were studying.

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Poster: rdenirojb87 Date: Nov 2, 2011 8:30am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Why the Bad and the Ugly only helped the Good

"With these guys, however, the possibility of catching one of "those shows", even when Jerry looked like the Sta Puft Marshmallow Man dipped in Wesson Oil and even if the show the night before had been flat, kept me coming back (well, as long as the funding or kindness of strangers permitted)"

HAHAHAHA



seriously, excellent points though. nothing to disagree with there. nice thread title too. i worship sergio leone.

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Poster: Tidewater four ten O nine Date: Nov 2, 2011 1:43pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Why the Bad and the Ugly only helped the Good

Good point, "variety is the spice of life" and "you can't have the highs without some lows", and all that.

The same as another recent poster (being in the UK and having wife & kids that stopped me from hopping on a plane and following whole east coast/west coast shows like some) my last show was at Wembley, London just over 20 years ago. They played three nights and, from my calculations, they didn't play the same song more than once over the full three nights.

Who else could have done that - certainly not the "we'll play our latest album sprinkled with a selection of our greatest hits" brigade.

we are blessed.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Nov 2, 2011 9:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Why the Bad and the Ugly only helped the Good

I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again, at least for me, 74-82, there wasn't enough variation between shows on different nights to have this perspective. No offense, freezing your nuggets off neighbor.

Seriously--it must have gotten much worse for the comments coming in about a "dud" and a "gem" to apply.

Recall, I loved them then, but was objective--so I am was not just "in the zone"...we would go every night, or skip one, or what have you, but my experience was they were very homogenous during this time period. Again, only Bay Area shows, but any "Tuesday was better than Thursday at Winterland, October, 78" was subtle.

Not saying I disagree with your thesis, but it at least for me, didn't apply much in the mid 70s when I saw the bulk of my shows (I missed Keith meltdowns in early 79, so again, acknowledging I have a limited sequence to sample from).

They were largely the same, night in and night out in 76, 77 and 78, anyhoo, at least during an individual "run".

What else ya got to support early is better?

;)

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Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Nov 2, 2011 9:30am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Why the Bad and the Ugly only helped the Good

I'm just going of my personal experiences when I was touring. I certainly see and understand what you are saying about "your time" (so, what was it like before they invented rope?). In my time, when the number of weak shows fluctuated in direct correlation to Jerry's pant size, when we did get a nugget (or jewel, to continue your ongoing testicular obsession) it was truly special. Now while the setlists may have been unspectactular, or even repetitive at times, the quality and overall feel could be light years away from the previous ones. Again, I cant speak to your experiences, although I have to fight a knee-jerk reaction to laugh and dismiss whatever noise eminates from you pie hole as empty white noise, but I must respect your recollections.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Nov 2, 2011 10:27am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Why the Bad and the Ugly only helped the Good

Ah ha--do recognize that in fact, white noise is so "rich" in information content that it is hard to determine what the real signal is, so...so...

As we see here.

Ahem.

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Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Nov 2, 2011 10:33am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Why the Bad and the Ugly only helped the Good

I rest my case.

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Poster: bluedevil Date: Nov 2, 2011 1:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Why the Bad and the Ugly only helped the Good

And a great book by Don Delillo

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Poster: b42l0ng-PA Date: Nov 2, 2011 3:36pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Why the Bad and the Ugly only helped the Good

Big picture,(20/20) I think about it as life and death. Birth>Growth>Death. Noone could've created a Cryptical>TOO>Cryptical or DS>SS>11 suite. Not even GOD himself. He didn't try to, he didn't need to. He knew that in the big picture, he was on the dying side rather than the birthing side. Eventually, growth was reletive and the painting was becoming finished. It's a beutiful painting to admire.

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Nov 2, 2011 9:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Why the Bad and the Ugly only helped the Good

"Perhaps this was a master-strategy by Jerry, especially as the years took their toll, knowing that by keeping the audience guessing and always hoping only served to keep them coming back time and time again. I would much rather have it this way then have each show crisp, clean and choreographed."

Not sure what exactly you mean by this. That Jerry was like a professional tennis player who occasionally will make an early exit from a tourney because of lack of effort? I think if he wanted to keep the audience guessing he would have been more flexible with song placement. True that they did not play the same show every night like Pink Floyd was doing but Jerry was apparently pretty particular about the song placements (first set vs. second set, post space ballad position etc). Apparently Hornsby tried to get the band to mix it up a bit and it was Jerry who was resistant to change. I think this unwillingness to mix up the song placement was Jerry trying to come up with a formulaic way of not being formulaic. In other words having a structure to a show that he was comfortable with to help hide some of his self-induced deficiencies yet not become a single setlist/tour type of band.

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Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Nov 2, 2011 10:34am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Why the Bad and the Ugly only helped the Good

Purely satirical on part (oh horrors!). Any changes in quality of performance I'm sure were not the result of any conscious choice on the Fat Man's part, merely physical and chemical issues. Created a "Russian Roulette" feel to many shows I went to. Although in my case I was hoping TO get my head blown off...in the good way.

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Poster: Dudley Dead Date: Nov 2, 2011 8:41am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Why the Bad and the Ugly only helped the Good

One of the good things of them slowly getting popular in the 80's, was them doing more runs, and not just single shows . So if one nigh was weak, you could go home thinking " they will be better tomorrow ". Not always but usually .

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Poster: dark.starz Date: Nov 2, 2011 8:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Why the Bad and the Ugly only helped the Good

Ya know,

Up until 1982 questionable performances really weren't an issue, every show was memorable, even the Des Moines 06/16/74 and Chicago Amphitheatre 07/25/74 performances, which were both bumpy flights and reeked with havoc were memorable. Enter the Haggan Daz era and it was a rough couple of years for everyone.

The comeback era shows 1987 - 1990 were always great to attend and record. Say what you will about Vince, Fall 1990 > December 1993 shows were always fun to attend.

That was the key to this life that we chose;

"no expectations!"

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Poster: ColdRain108 Date: Nov 2, 2011 12:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: that is why Jerry called it fate music...

This is the very thing that keeps the DSO's and the like from every really "getting it". They are more focused on the "musicallity" of what they are playing instread of the infinite vibrational energy that is always present but never predictable. 99.999999% of bands would always choose consistent mediocrity over unpredictable glory. Most of these guys are embarresed in the face of their "fellow musicians" into keeping it wrapped up and tight for fear of being ridiculed as sloppy by the musicologists. Luckily for us Jerry didn't worry about such unimportant crap...and the GD would fail miserably once in a while, but then they would pick themselves up and let loose a miracle once in a while. I would say from my 200+ shows that there were almost as many brutal fails as there were spectacular mind benders (the minority). Most of the time it was just a damn fine concert.

I always noticed variable energy levels at different venues/nights, especially up and down the east coast...and then go to the Greek and get something completely different.

This post was modified by Little Sense on 2011-11-02 19:57:52

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Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Nov 2, 2011 1:25pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: that is why Jerry called it fate music...

...consistent mediocrity over unpredictable glory.

Thanks for summing it up so well. Well played.

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Poster: rastamon Date: Nov 2, 2011 1:10pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: that is why Jerry called it fate music...

very good! That is what the cover bands lack. Some post Jerry bands have come close, like Phil & Friends. And outside of GD music, Phish has it nailed, which is a big attraction to me. They've had stinkers, but have also nailed some excellent shows and jams.

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Poster: rdenirojb87 Date: Nov 2, 2011 1:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: that is why Jerry called it fate music...

rasta, what about sci? imo, the cheese is every bit as good as phish. i believe they are the 2 best jam bands since the gd, and it's hard to bring up one in the discussion of great modern jam bands without mentioning the other. fairly similar music, and the talent is pretty equal too imo.

This post was modified by rdenirojb87 on 2011-11-02 20:35:47

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Poster: wisconsindead Date: Nov 2, 2011 7:08pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: that is why Jerry called it fate music...

I love me some phish. SCI is also great. For me its GD, Phish then SCI. I think phish is better than cheese, though trey can be dull over time. Frankly, i dont know both of them well enough to say. But I've grown up listening to phish and have a blast every time I see them and usually love it every time I hear them.